This book evolved from my teaching notes when I ran a regular tarot study group. Each week I wrote work sheets for my students and each week they happily filed them away, until one week someone said, ‘You’ve got the makings of a book here.’ I spent the following months collating my material, typing it up into book format and making it into a whole piece of work.
This all happened back in the dark ages when publishers ruled the written word and there was no such thing as Indie Publishing. I was fortunate in that the first publisher I approached, Thorsons, appeared very interested and requested the entire manuscript, but then promptly sat on my book for over 18 months debating whether it would fit with their lists. Eventually I asked for the return of my work if they did not intend to publish. Their comments on returning it were that it was well written, but did not feel that it was mainstream enough, and would therefore not sell enough copies.
The reason my tarot book was/is not mainstream enough is that I don’t use Waite’s cards as illustrations and I do not regurgitate Waite’s simplistic, and often confusing, interpretations. I also do not follow his Major Card numbering ‘correction’ of transposing Justice at 8 with Strength at 11 (Waite puts Strength at 8 and Justice at 11)
Once I had my manuscript again I sent it out to a selection of other publishers, each one coming back with near enough the same comments. This all took a considerable amount of time, because, back in those dark ages, the protocol was that you sent out your work to one publisher at a time and waited. 6 rejections later and I was beginning to flag in my endeavours…
Then a little voice whispered in my ear…there’s this new thing out there called Self-Publishing…and it isn’t vanity publishing. Vanity publishing is where you get your books printed and try and sell them. They tend to sit in people’s cupboards and lofts for years…although some very famous authors did succeed, such as Mark Twain and Beatrix Potter.
After much research I decided to go with Lulu. They offered me the freedom to offer my tarot book, in print form, as a work/study book for my students, and anyone else who might be interested. Indie publishing was in its infancy, Kindle hadn’t been invented, and sure, there were teething problems; but my students helped choose from a vast selection of cover ideas which one appealed most to them, and The System of Symbols, a new way to look at tarot, went live to the world.
I’ve never looked back.